An economical idea
November 20, 2019
For quite some time, it has been apparent that one of the major economic drivers for Saratoga and the Upper North Platte Valley has been tourism. While both the extraction and energy industries have been top employers in the area, many locals are employed either in the service or retail industry.
In fact, according to a study done for the Wyoming Office of Tourism, there were over 1,500 jobs in Carbon County as a result of the tourism industry. This has been a study increase since 2007, when 1,470 jobs in the county were attributed to the tourism industry. Anyone who has lived in the Valley, and Carbon County, for a significant amount of time knows that the summer months are the busiest time.
The “shoulder months” of tourism between Labor Day and Memorial Day, however, are starting to see an increase in popularity. Long time events such as the Ice Fishing Derby have been a continual draw, but newer events like as Skijoring are starting to increase traffic into the area. Of course, there’s still plenty of room to grow.
Over the weekend, those who were in Saratoga might have thought that it was summer in November. It had nothing to do with the weather, which was chilly and overcast, but with the amount of people in town. On Saturday, the annual Xi Beta Epsilon Christmas Bazaar was held at the Platte Valley Community Center.
The event is always a large draw and the parking lot of the community center was packed. Additionally, the Great Hall and the hallway were filled with crafters and customers as the season of Christmas shopping began.
A walk along Bridge Avenue that same day revealed that parking was also a premium downtown. It appeared difficult, especially, to find a parking spot on the east side of Bridge Avenue. It seemed that, following a visit to the Christmas Bazaar, locals and visitors alike took to downtown Saratoga to continue shopping.
Along with the bazaar on Saturday, at least two local businesses were holding open houses to coincide with the event at the community center. One longtime local was overheard commenting on how they were reminded of the open houses once held by Erickson’s Gifts at the same time as the Christmas Bazaar.
A brief check-in with other businesses in downtown Saratoga showed that many of them had been seeing an increase in customers, presumably due to the bazaar. One business owner commented that they had been dead all week, but had been doing decent business on Saturday. An employee at another business informed the Saratoga Sun that there had been a solid block of business for two hours.
When it came time for a break from shopping, people headed into one of the local restaurants. Following their lunch break, they returned to the sidewalks and continued their shopping tour.
The Saratoga Sun believes that this weekend was a great example of how our local businesses can work together to help each other, as well as boost the local economy during the shoulder months for tourism.
There are, of course, national commerce events such as Black Friday and Shop Small Saturday. Also, as mentioned previously, the Valley has a few winter events that draw in crowds in the “off season.” Planning events around the Xi Beta Epsilon Christmas Bazaar is not a bad way to start as it is an established event that is known to draw people into Saratoga and get locals out of their house.
Our local businesses can certainly work together on planning open houses and specials around events. It is also a good idea to work with the Saratoga/Platte Valley Chamber of Commerce, and the CCVC directors. Spending some money in advertising your event or your specials is also money well spent.
It doesn’t just have to appeal to those coming to Saratoga or the Valley for the weekend, either. It’s also a good idea to reach out to local customers and encourage them to keep their money in the local economy.
The Saratoga Sun encourages local businesses to work together in generating ideas for additional opportunities to boost our economy. When that happens, we all win.